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In capital budget, millions for Juneau infrastructure but nothing for schools

Posted: April 8, 2014 - 11:04pm

Each Alaska senator has an approximate limit on capital budget spending for projects in his or her district — how they spend it is up to them.

Anchorage schools are getting nearly $4.9 million in additional funding from the capital budget. Fairbanks has just over $150,000 headed its way.

Juneau schools aren’t so lucky. There’s nothing in the capital budget for them.

“We can only do so much,” said Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau. “Every project is a need, I don’t argue with that, it’s just trying to prioritize some of this stuff.

“Ultimately, it’s up to the co-chairs of Senate Finance about what projects get in,” he added.

In the draft capital budget, Juneau will receive $93.6 million, $8.04 million more than the governor initially proposed.

The $93.6 million includes $35 million for the Juneau Access project, but not $37.5 million for the State Library, Archive and Museum project. It’s considered a statewide effort.

Of the approximately $8 million added by legislators to the governor’s proposed capital budget, $2 million will pay for improvements to the Last Chance Basin — which supplies Juneau’s drinking water — and the Salmon Creek Water Treatment facility. Another $4.3 million will go to improvements at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Juneau Republican Rep. Cathy Muñoz said the delegation — herself, Egan and Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau — met in early March to prioritize requests from their districts, which include Skagway, Petersburg and Gustavus as well as Juneau.

“When we get together we don’t take up what the governor has already put into the budget,” Muñoz said. “We review all of the projects that are not in the governor’s budget and then rank those.”

She added that securing the $2 million for water projects was one of Juneau’s top priorities.

Jesse Kiehl, City and Borough Assemblyman and legislative staff to Egan, said their office received about $165 million in capital project requests.

The Juneau School District sent only two requests: $60,000 for new video conferencing equipment and $580,000 for a new elementary language arts curriculum. Neither request was granted.

Muñoz told the Empire that if the JSD had submitted multiple smaller requests for individual need, they probably would have secured some extra funding from the state.

In comparison, the Anchorage School District had 58 individual funding requests included in the capital budget for a total of nearly $4.9 million.

Tok’s school district got $48,500, $77,000 went to the Mat-Su district and the Copper River School District got $275,000 in the budget.

The figures revealed Monday are not final and may change before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

That deadline is in 11 days.

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Demian Schane
132
Points
Demian Schane 04/09/14 - 04:07 pm
5
5
So,

if you assume that kids are not getting a good education (an assumption that is not true across the board), the answer is to penalize schools by not providing funds to match rising costs? Yeah, that will sure solve it.

Why would anyone, other than those who stand to benefit financially, support funding a road extension to a new ferry terminal over funding our educational system? Perpetuate the legislative legacy of dunces?

Karl Ashenbrenner
3033
Points
Karl Ashenbrenner 04/10/14 - 05:00 pm
5
0
Whether

6000 per year or 19000 per year, when we spend 40,000 per year to incarcerate someone our priorities are skewed.

Dot Wilson
408
Points
Dot Wilson 04/11/14 - 08:08 am
2
3
Brad

Didn't say it was easy, just said most new teachers would rather focus on fewer kids than a classroom. Special Ed is a little like going to a private school. The kids who are very smart or who have disabilities receive the best education and the most attention. The ones who are mainstream average go into classrooms with teachers who are teaching to the masses. That requires the mainstream average child have a desire to learn. There are many of those who do. But it certainly requires s lot of self-motivation (as learning should be I guess). If requirements are taken away, there is no gauge for the teacher to know how much is reaching the less motivated. Teachers like the children who pay attention and are interested in learning. The others are tolerated and if possible, ignored. I do understand that it is human nature is to like people who respond positively to you and that it is very difficult for teachers to like all their children. But sometimes that is all the motivation needed.

Bill Burk
12897
Points
Bill Burk 04/11/14 - 08:18 am
3
2
Dot

Your belief in education is ALL wrong! 1: It is the law that ALL special ed students be mainstreamed. 2: Students with disabilities are given the SAME opportunities that other students are given. Teachers today give that same attention the special needs students and they do to other students. 3: Before you pass judgement you NEED at attend some class and watch the way classrooms today are structured with a mix of students!

Dot Wilson
408
Points
Dot Wilson 04/11/14 - 09:05 am
2
3
Bill

I admit I haven't been in a classroom for years. Maybe I will do that in the fall. But I have seen a lot of disinterested kids who just go to class enough to pass. When my own children were in school a teacher told the class one day that "C's are average, and you are average so don't worry about making a C." Sounds positive for a struggling student to hear. But my daughter's translation was, "I can make C's without studying." She did that because she was more social that studious. Up until that teacher's encouragement she had made all A's. She never caused any issues in class so she just lazily went through high school.

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